Skip to main content

The complexity of compromise

Boy, oh boy, there can be conflict within our minds and hearts sometimes, right? It is as though you could close your eyes for just a moment and see this little image of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, each presenting their argument for why you should listen to their "advice" on what decision to make in the moment.  Well, it isn't that easy sometimes to be sure we are clearly able to distinguish between one voice over the other.  That clever part of us is always finding "loopholes" in the arguments of one or the other simply because we really want to do things our way anyway!  

So I tell you, live the way the Spirit leads you. Then you will not do the evil things your sinful self wants. The sinful self wants what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against the sinful self. They are always fighting against each other, so that you don’t do what you really want to do. But if you let the Spirit lead you, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:16-18 ERV)

We sometimes find ourselves manipulating the truth, or believing the true part of a lie in order to justify what it is we really wanted to do in the first place. This is not a new issue with the human race, and I suspect it will continue on until Christ returns!  When Paul writes to the Galatian church to not make light of their freedom they have been given in Christ, he reminds them of a couple simple "tests" or "ways to know" we are doing the right things.  It wasn't too long before the believers of that day began to realize they were given a tremendous gift in God's grace and this presented a totally new set of problems for them.  

You see, if they didn't "have to" follow the rules of the Law of Moses any longer, replete with the lengthy Torah and other rules added to the mix, they weren't going to!  Regardless of how that made their brothers and sisters feel around them, some were enjoying their "freedom" way to freely and Paul needed to reign them in a little.  We are just like that first century group of believers when we take the gift of grace we have been given and think this gives us liberty to do whatever we want because we have grace to fall back on.

Grace is not something we "fall back on" - it is something we step forward into and realize the change it makes in our lives, as a result.  Grace doesn't give us liberty so we can justify those actions which are a little "marginal" in our lives. You know the ones I mean - those times when we act one way, but know deep down the action isn't really honoring the Lord fully.  When we choose to walk in our liberty in this manner, we often overlook the feelings of others, or what they believe to be true for their own lives.  We take liberty to the extreme and then we find ourselves doing harm to both ourselves (because we have compromised the purity of truth) and others (because we have brought about a conflict of values).

The Law of Moses wasn't a bad thing.  We humans have a tendency to take really good things and "elaborate" on them to make them "better".  This is just how we work.  The Law pointed Israel toward their need of a Savior - one whose blood would redeem them from their sin.  It pointed them toward relationship with God Almighty - no other gods before him.  It also pointed out their need for closeness to him - as anything else would cause a drift from the truth contained within the Law.  

In the way all humans go about living life, some of the rules seemed a little "too binding" - they confined the follower too tightly compared to those not living under those same rules.  Isn't this the age-old struggle revealed in just about every teenagers life along about the time they argue that "so-and-so's mother" is letting them go there, or do that, so "why can't I"?  In much the same way, the Israelites wanted to "add to" the rules some "clarifying factors" - making it "simpler" or "more realistic" to follow the rule if you did it this way or that. In time, those rules became more binding and difficult to follow because all compromise does is add complexity to life, my friends!

Paul's reminder is that freedom isn't liberty to do anything we desire.  It is freedom to draw closer to Jesus because now the complexity of compromise no longer exists!  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce